Getting started on a new project can be hard for anyone.
But when you have ADHD there are a number of different reasons that can make you put off starting something.
We’re often overwhelmed by the size of the task, kid ourselves into thinking that we don’t need to start just yet, or it’s something that just doesn’t excite us or that we find difficult.
But, as entrepreneurs with ADHD it’s vital that we try to manage our symptoms and create strategies to overcome procrastination if we want to successfully own and grow our businesses.
So how do you even begin to start working on a project involving tasks that you find dull or difficult?
To avoid those dull or unpleasant parts of the project, you may end up doing something else like checking your email, networking on Facebook, or playing a computer game. But the problem with procrastination is that no matter how long you avoid the task, that task is still going to be there at the end of the day.
Like ripping off a bandage, it’s better to get the unpleasant work done as soon as possible. Not only will you get rid of the dread you feel, by giving yourself a win you’ll experience a productivity boost.
If you’re procrastinating, here’s how to start getting stuff done right now:
Create an outline
Outlines save you time. They keep you from having to do extra work and they make it easy to see holes in your projects. It’s also easier to move around parts of your project if you have an outline.
You should try dumping all of your ideas about this project into a blank notebook or a digital one, like Evernote. From there, you can brainstorm more ideas and organise your thoughts into an outline.
Depending on your project, you may need a really detailed or really short outline. do what works for you but keep in mind your outline isn’t carved in stone. It’s fine to move parts of your project around until you find the best fit.
Break It Down
Big projects can be overwhelming so break them down into smaller chunks. For example, you’re writing a 30-page ebook. You can break that down into 6 chapters of 5 pages each. Now you just need to focus on writing one chapter at a time.
How you break your tasks down depends on what your schedule looks like and how you prioritise your time. You may be able to write several pages a day so you can finish your ebook in a week or you may write slowly and find you can only create one page of content a day.
There is no right or wrong way of doing things. The important thing is to find a way that works for you so you can keep moving forward with your project.
When you’re really struggling to focus and just can’t seem to get your head in the game, try listening to some music. If you’re a Spotify user you can search for “ADHD” in playlists and you’ll find a great selection of soothing instrumental music to help you to calm down and focus.
If you don’t use Spotify you can head to YouTube and do the same. You can find videos with soothing instrumental music that will help you clear your mind and help you focus. If you prefer a bit more noise and don’t feel lyrics distract you, then look for playlists of your favourite music genre or find the soundtrack to one of your favourite movies.
Set a Deadline
When you think you have all day to tackle a project, you’re probably going to procrastinate a bit. Remember having weeks or months to do that important piece of school work and then staying up all night to do it the night before it’s due? Hello time blindness!
By setting yourself a firm deadline, you’re less likely to leave it till the last minute, so set another commitment in place.
Trying saying to yourself, “I’m going to the gym at 4pm so I have to get this new blog post scheduled before I go.” This type of firm deadline from an outside appointment can be just the push you need to get started. And sometimes it doesn’t make much of a difference. That’s why when I do this I use various other tools to set reminders too.
Tackling big projects can feel intimidating but they don’t have to be. Remind yourself how good you’ll feel when your project is successfully completed and focus on that as you work.
If you found this useful then you’ll love our free 20-page guide on managing procrastination.